Friday, December 29, 2017

My First Half Marathon

My summer was so busy with work and trips and then school started and then the holidays happened I have just not had time to write in so long. But I got a lovely new computer for Christmas from my husband (a desperately needed one, I might wouldn't believe the dinosaur I used for school this semester).

BUT! As I mentioned in my other post, I was determined to do the Grand Forks Wild Hog half marathon in September 2017. I figured I might just keep putting it off, I so just registered hoping the fact that it was coming up would motivate me to get my butt out there and train properly.

SPOILER ALERT: I ran maybe a handful of times this summer on my own, 2 5ks (the Insane Inflateable 5k and the Run for Your Buns 5k) and the half marathon snuck up on me in no time. Before the event, I had never run more than 6.2 miles and to be honest, I was absolutely terrified that I would literally die or have to walk almost the entire thing considering I had to start walking parts of my 10k in Fargo around mile 4.

The worst part of this whole weekend was my lack of support. Remember how I bragged up and down how great my husband was about coming to all my races and being supportive? Well, he passed his bar exam (yay!) and was sworn into the North Dakota bar that same weekend. He could not miss it and while I was sad to not be there to support him being sworn in, I was equally sad he was not here to support me.

On Friday, I psyched myself up as best I could and went to pick up my packet. Got my 5k and half packets and t-shirt without incident (thank God). While I was waiting in line, I chatted with the guy who owns See Dick Run, our local running store. I asked him for suggestions on what the best fueling gel was and he suggested GU Roctane gels. I bought an orange (creamsicle I think) and a blueberry pomegranate.

The 5k went well, I think I finished around 40 minutes which was good. I could probably have finished a little faster, but I intentionally held back to save my energy for the next day. Overall, it went well, not great, not terribly. I almost twisted my ankle on during the first mile, but other than that it was okay. Afterwards, however, it was really depressing to go home by myself, make pasta, and eat alone. There was no one at the finish line to greet me and the silence at home was near deafening.

On the bright side, I was able to get into bed super early that night, make a bangin' playlist for the half marathon, and surprisingly was able to fall asleep fairly quickly. For 6 years and almost 10 10ks, I haven't been able to sleep the night before but somehow, a half marathon that I didn't train for was no big deal to sleep before. Go figure.

The next morning, I woke up early, got dressed, and drove over to the start line. Here's the thing; I enjoy the Fargo marathon, but it IS a pain to drive an hour, pay for a hotel, have to drive another hour or so to the Fargodome, walk half a mile to and from the parking lot to the start line....Fargo is wonderful, but it is significantly more work than the Grand Forks marathons. It took me less than 10 minutes to drive from my house to the Wild Hog, park my car, and get to the starting line.

I did however at least have some company at the starting line. A coworker of mine from the Wellness Center was also running the half, also with less training than she wanted (yet still more than me!). I decided to have a gel at mile 4, and the other at mile 8, figuring once I got to 12, 13 would be super easy. I just wanted to cross the finish line.

I was able to run the entire thing!!! The only times I walked was to drink water/gatorade and to eat a gel. Figured a few extra seconds wasn't worth choking on my water by trying to run while drinking. I finished in just over 3 hours; I was hoping for 3 hours or under, but I saw the pacer for 3 hours slowly creeping away from me so I knew from the start I was going to be over. Luckily for me, they added a full marathon as well so I didn't look quite as pathetic as I thought I might.

I crossed the finish line, they announced my name, and I damn near burst into tears. My friend Ryan works at the Wild Hog and does a lot of the planning and set up for it. He happened to be handing out water, and congratulated me; I managed to keep my tears in until I found my best friend who came to wait for me at the finish line. I did in fact cry when she hugged me because I was so proud of myself and I was just so happy to have someone at the finish line cheering me on.

I went home to shower, she went to pick up some food and movies (The funniest thing was when I got out of my car at home after the half and my smart watch said "you've hit your activity goal with plenty of time to spare. Want to step up your goal for the day?" I JUST RAN 13.1 MILES, WATCH. Do you think you're funny? PISS OFF!). She came over and spent the day on my couch with me watching movies, since there was little else I was physically able to do. I spent the time during the movies stretching and using my roller (Ethan bought me some cool rolling pin thing that you use on worked muscles....apparently MMA fighters swear on it) and I was surprised at how well I was moving the next day!

Don't get me wrong, I was pleased as punch and thrilled to say I RAN a half marathon, but my statistics were....not great. I was 460th out of 472, 276th out of 286 in the female division, and 83rd out of 85 in the female 20-29 category. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! BUT I finished and ran the whole thing! Plus, now I have statistics to compare the upcoming Fargo half marathon too. Because I'll tell you something else; I thought I'd either say "yep, I ran a half! Now back to 10ks!" or I would be hooked on halfs...I am hooked on halfs!

Since 2012, I've run seven 10ks, a half marathon, and over twenty 5ks. I am looking forward to doing as many 5ks as I can find, 10ks if I can, at both the Fargo and Grand Forks half marathons every year. That half marathon really reignited my love for running. I have been running semi regularly with my roommate Brian. He's the best running partner I've had so far; he shows up every time, doesn't try to talk, and keeps pace with me instead of taking off on me. Overall, I'm really looking forward to running more miles than ever in 2018!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

GoFar Challenge 2017

This past weekend was Fargo Marathon weekend, which is one of my favorite times of year, actually. I ran my first 5k in 2012; my friend Laurel inspired me to start running. From there, I was straight up addicted! I've done the Fargo 5k every year since in addition to so many other 5ks I've lost count by this point. I ran my first 10k in Fargo in 2013, and have done the Fargo 10k every year as well, in addition to two more in Grand Forks.

Now that you're caught up on my running history, I want to tell you about my weekend! First off, I trained super hard for my first 10k (if you want more of my running history, feel free to check out my old blog). I actually ran 5-6 miles 3 times a week which is apparently WAY too much. My finish time that year was 1:11:15, which was AMAZING. 

The problem is that I have not trained properly for a race since. But I'm absolutely stubborn as hell, so I sign up for a bunch of races anyway and run them and it's terrible. I make excellent decisions, I know.

This year was obviously no exception. As a matter of fact, I procrastinated so long, I actually missed the sign up deadline by like 5 minutes. Registration closed at 11:59 last Sunday night, and I looked at my phone at 12:04 and realized I'd forgotten! I immediately sent them an email, but I didn't hear back. That's totally understandable, because I know they're busy and probably bombarded with emails.

I make jokes a lot about my phone listening, because the things that pop up on my facebook feed at the most perfect time...there's just no way that's a coincidence. BUT, this time it was helpful. On Tuesday, I was derping on Facebook and saw a post by my friend Lacey. She was looking to get into the 10k late. I immediately mesasged her and told her I was also looking to get into the 10k late. She had been emailing the marathon director and he said there was last minute sign up on Thursday at 2pm, and that I could sign her up if I had a picture of her ID.

I didn't work on Thrusday, so cool, great. I can sign myself up, and it's literally no work at all to sign her up too, so that was the plan. She messaged me a picture of her ID and I drove down super early on Thursday. Obviously I had lunch at Green House Cafe, the vegan place in Fargo. I had the orange "chicken" bowl!

I was nervous about missing it, so I got there at about 1pm. They told me I had to wait until 2pm, which was fine. I just wandered around the expo for awhile, bought some stuff, and then at 1:30 went to stand near the sign up table. We formed a line and I was 2nd, which was great. At 1:55, they made an announcement that you COULD NOT sign up another person. You could ONLY sign yourself up. 

I messaged Lacey and she said I should ask about the email that I had been CC'd on, from the director, saying that I was able to sign her up. I showed the girl at the table the email and she said "okay, since you have the email, you can sign up your friend." AWESOME! I signed myself up, and then got back in line to sign her up (because I am not an asshole; they only had a liminted number of extra bib numbers, and it's only fair that I go through the line again). 

Lacey had also asked if I would be willing to sign up another friend of hers as well. (SIDE STORY TIME REAL QUICK: the friend of hers is actually the girlfriend of my high school bully. I REALLY wanted to say no out of principle. But I've never met this girl, she has never done anything to me, I graduated 10 years ago, I'm already whatever, I said I would do it). They let me sign Lacey up because of the email, but I wasn't sure they'd let me sign the other girl up, but they did so everyone got signed up!

Here's when my day went a bit sideways. I went to pick up our bags and shirts. I went to the 10k booth and picked up our bags and shirts, no problem. But then...I went to get my 5k tshirt, and here's how the exchange went between the guy and me.

Him: what size tshirt?
Me: A large please. it for you?
Me: Yep
Him: HAHAHA. No.... 
*goes over to the table and grabs a 2XL and hands it to me*
Him: You will probably pass out after the first turn from not being able to breathe if you wear that other one.

I was so stunned and kind of embarassed, so I just took the shirt and walked away. But the more I thought about it, the more upset I got. First of all, I live in my body every day. I'm very aware that I am overweight, I don't need you to point it out. Second of all, this happened to be the second time in a month a COMPLETE stranger commented about my stomach in particular. And finally, it's none of your goddamn business what size tshirt I ask for. If I'm a size 30 and ask for a size small tshirt, your job is to hand me the goddamn shirt. 

I told my friends because I was literally crying on my drive home. Laurel immediately told me I needed to complain, so I posted a comment on the Fargo marathon page about what had happened. Within an hour of me posting, I got a message from the page asking me who it was, and apologizing profusely. They promised to get me a new shirt, said he would no longer be working with them, and offered to refund my race fee. I honestly just wanted to make sure NO ONE ever said something like that to someone again (but I'm super broke so I am taking the refund), because as much as I want to be like "ah that dude was just a jerk," my feelings are still hurt, and that comment is still bothering me.

Anyway, glad that is over. I honestly got the most unebelievably supportive comments and messaged from so many people. I posted about It on Facebook, because yeah, I wanted some lovin'. It shouldn't matter, but just so we're clear:

The photo on the right is me wearing a medium from last year, and the left is the 2xl I was given on Thursday. Clearly a large would have fit just fine.

Anywho, moving on. I drove down early Friday. We checked into our hotel and eventually headed to the Fargodome. I ran into an old sorority sister on my way to grab my new shirt. We chatted for awhile and then I met up with my friend Jenny. She was also running the 5k (side note, she also did the half marathon with NO TRAINING. If she wasn't my friend, I would hate her haha!).

Jenny and I before the 5k
With absolutely NO PREPARATION, I was hoping to finish in under 50 minutes. I checked my pace at mile 2, and figured it was possible for me to finish in under 40 minutes, though unlikely. I actually ended up finishing in 40:12! THAT'S CRAZY DUDE! I was so pumped, it felt so good!

Starting top right; Pesto, Alfredo, Cajun,
Jenny and I after finishing
Ethan and I
Let me just take a second here to brag on my husband. He comes to every single 5k and 10k, stands around holding all my crap from 40-90 minutes while I run. No matter the weather, or how early we have to get up, or how far we have to travel, or how insufferable I get before races (you think I'd be used to it by now, but I still always stress out so terribly). He's really a trooper!

After the 5k, I met my oldest friend at Green House Cafe for an endless vegan pasta event. The sauces were AMAZING, my personal favorite was the Cajun! However, they're a newer business and have never done something like this only complaint is that the pasta was super overcooked.

While we were at dinner, Lacey came and picked up the two bags. We did a super quick 5 minute catch up as we went to my car to grab it. I honestly don't think I've seen her since I graduated, and it was nice to catch up. More reason that I think Facebook is listening in, that her post just HAPPENED to show up after I'd been talking about missing the deadline, when we haven't talked in years....oh well. It was really nice to see her. So nice, that I forgot to have her pay me back her entrance fee! She texted me later that night while I was stretching and pointed it out, so she's sending me a check.

But pasta the night before big races is tradition! You know what else is tradition? Sleeping like absolute garbage before a 10k! I've been doing 10ks for 5 years, and I STILL can never sleep the night before. I had to be up at 6am, so I went to bed at 11pm.

I tried EVERYTHING. TV, no TV, white noise app, colder, hotter, meditation....nothing worked. But finally I passed out sometime after 2am.

I got up at 6am, shaking because I keep my hotel rooms incredibly cold, got ready and headed to the 10k. Mixed my preworkout, pinned on my number, handed my bag off to my husband, and lined up.

This post is getting outrageously long. Basically, I just wanted to finish in under 1:30:00 which isn't a great time, but I made it in about 1:25:something. I felt so great! Of all the 10ks I've done, I enjoyed this run itself immensely!

There was a girl in a lime green shirt, and we basically ran next to each other the entire time. We were unknowingly both pacing with each other. I happened to catch her after the race and we laughed about it.

After, I was like "I have run almost 10 miles in 2 days. I deserve some damn pancakes!" Ethan, my ever accommodating husband said sure, so we headed back to Green House because I'm obsessed with that place (obviously). I ordered myself a coffee and a delicious stack of pancakes.
Yeah, it's a Snapchat screenshot. Shut up.

I soaked those glorious pillows in hot syrup and they were so tasty...until ten minutes later when I ran outside and threw them back up. It 100% WAS NOT the pancakes themselves (I ate the rest later on today and they were fine!), I think it was just too rich for having JUST run 6.2 miles.

So that was my race weekend! Overall, some of the best running I've done. Ethan joked about doing the half with me next year, and honestly I would love that. However, I'm planning on training for the Grand Forks half in September.

I need to start posting more often, because I have so many awesome vegan recipes to share!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Welcome to My New Blog!

Hi there! If you've followed me here from a previous blog, I'm thrilled to have you here still!

If you're new, I'm still thrilled to have you here! Let me introduce myself.

My name is Tiffany. I'm 28 years old (currently), married, a recently admitted PhD candidate for a doctorate in International and Intercultural Communication. I currently work as a fitness instructor, teaching hip hop, Turbo Kick, and Zumba. I also teach a cooking class once a month during the school year.

...and I'm a vegan. The World's Okayest Vegan! :D

No, I obviously didn't come up with that myself, but I feel like it really does perfectly describe me...and no one else has used it as their blog title yet (that I could find, anyway). Let's continue on to my vegan journey.

In 2013, I became a vegetarian; two days a week, I would do my best to eat vegan. I kind of "accidentally" became a vegetarian. I hadn't eaten meat by coincidence in three or four days and realized I felt really good physically.

I've struggled with my weight since I was young, so I thought a vegan diet would be healthier than what I was eating before. So in 2016, I decided to try a vegan diet but I wasn't SUPER committed. I let myself have a "cheat" day once a week. I did pretty well for the first half of the year, but personally 2016 was an absolutely terrible year; I'm an emotional eater so I kinda derailed.

But something changed in my brain this year. I don't know what it was; I didn't see some horrifying documentary, I didn't attend some life changing event. Some switch deep in my brain just flipped, and I have not even wanted to eat anything not vegan. In all of 2017, I have not (intentionally) ingested any animal products.

The reason I identify so well with the "okayest" title is because I admit that I don't buy exclusively certified vegan products. Oreos don't contain animal products (unless you're against the use of bone char in sugar, but we'll get to that in a minute), and you bet your butt I will stuff oreos into my face if given the opportunity. I check ingredients lists and if I don't see any animal products in there, I will buy it. Something that I would probably get reamed for by elitist vegans would be I will still buy thing with labels that say "may contain traces of *animal product.*"

I do my best to not consume any animal products. I do the best that I can, which is really all you can ask from someone (in my opinion). However, I really could do a better job of eating properly. There was a time where I was literally eating vegan beer brats and baked fries for every meal. It was tasty! But I became a vegan to eat better and in that aspect, I'm kinda failing.

Each week, I'm going to share a new vegan recipe with you! I hope you come and check back, and please feel free to comment or email me if you have any vegan questions for me!

My First Half Marathon

My summer was so busy with work and trips and then school started and then the holidays happened I have just not had time to write in so lon...